Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect millions of people (predominantly women, but also men) each year. For all women, there’s a 50% chance of contracting at least one UTI in their lifetime.
Some women, after they’ve had their first infection, will only end up increasing their likelihood of contracting more UTIs in the future.
UTIs occur when bacteria from the large intestine (or the butt in general) travels to the urethra, where urine exits the body. This bacteria, most commonly E. coli, can then cause an infection that makes urination painful and can potentially spread to the kidneys. This is why doctors always advise people to wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom.
For a long time, many doctors have advised women to drink a glass of cranberry juice every day, take cranberry pills, or even eat probiotic yogurt to help prevent more UTIs.
Although these “treatment” methods are commonly shared and spread around, they haven’t actually been proven to be effective.
A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, however, reveals that there is now an effective way of warding off UTIs: exercise.
The study followed 19,000 adults and asked them to provide information about their physical activity, as well as their prescription history. The researchers were looking in particular for antibiotics typically prescribed to treat UTIs.
People who reported less physical activity were more likely to receive prescriptions for UTI antibiotics than their more-active counterparts.
Before you get discouraged by the thought of exercising a lot, it’s important to note that the active individuals only participated in moderate-intensity activity for at least four hours a week. You don’t have to start an entirely new fitness routine just to protect yourself against UTIs.
The researchers acknowledge that more studies must be conducted to fill in many unanswered questions, but as of now, you can be certain that adding some more physical activity to your weekly routine will help you avoid getting that next UTI.